Editor’s Note: This is the address delivered by Interim Lower School Principal Allison Peters Jensen at Lower School Continuation, June 3, 2019.
Good morning, and welcome to the Colorado Academy Fifth Grade Continuation Ceremony. Welcome to our faculty, our students, parents, relatives, and many other members of the Colorado Academy community who are here to show their support and love for this class of Fifth Grade students.
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Fifth Graders, today marks the conclusion of your beginning and turns the page to the middle of your story. And what a beginning it’s been!
In any story, the best and most memorable characters are the ones who make their marks because they face challenges head on, learn from their mistakes, and are kind. You are leaving a lasting impression on our Lower School because you are those characters.
You’ve all become memorable individuals of our community that your families and teachers are proud of. You developed your independence through the experiences offered at Crow Canyon, you collaborated with teachers and classmates to lead through mentoring and being a buddy, you explored what it means to make a difference in the world across cultures with International Day and Images of Greatness, you practiced being a team player in the classroom and in P.E., you expressed your creativity in arts, music, and tech, and you met new people and built lasting friendships.
Fifth Graders, you are writing a story of your own, and Lower School is just the beginning.
Like many of you—whether Fifth Grader, parent, family, or faculty member, I know that this event marks the end of a chapter—the end of a school year, the end of Lower School. But it also marks the start of the middle chapters—Middle School, and many new adventures to come. Change, while good and exciting, also requires some firm footing from which to navigate.
I’ll tap into a source that throughout my life has both guided and inspired me—children’s literature. Books teach us that if we have courage, show empathy to all, are persistent, and work together, we will find our way.
Let me begin with courage: In the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank Baum wrote about overcoming our greatest fears. Oz told the Lion: “True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince tells us that “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women helps us understand our character flaws and how to love—not only others—but ourselves. She writes, “Watch and pray, …never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your faults.”
How about Lewis Carroll’s classics, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass? The Cheshire Cat wisely states, “Only a few find the way, some don’t recognize it when they do – some…don’t ever want to.”
And we can’t forget A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh. Our beloved Winnie the Pooh says “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest, waiting for others to come to you; you have to go to them sometimes.”
As you look back at your story’s beginning and look ahead to the next chapters where the plot thickens, I give you this advice from these children’s authors:
Convene your courage
See with your heart
Never get tired of trying
Find your way
And there is no doubt that you are ready to leave your corner of the forest—or campus….Go forth!
Congratulations, and best of luck to you all in Middle School!